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Guidance for Police: Prescribed Cannabis Medicine – Possession, Use and Driving

Guidance for Police

Prescribed Cannabis Medicines - Possession, Use and Driving

Cannabis medicines have been legally prescribed in the UK since 1 November 2018. This information, together with the full evidence pack available for download, provides all the information required to assess the lawfulness of possession, use and driving prior to arrest.

  • Possession and public use of prescribed cannabis medicines is legal.
  • Cannabis medicines are prescribed in two forms, an oil for oral consumption and dried flowers.
  • Presentation of a prescription or the dispensing label on the medication combined with photo ID is sufficient evidence to confirm the legitimacy of the possession and statutory defence for the prescription holder.
  • Roadside swabs (preliminary tests) are to identify the presence of an illicit controlled drug and should not be administered until the validity of the prescription is sought.
  • Unless evidence can be adduced to prove that the patient was not following their prescriber’s and manufacturer’s guidance (generally do not drive if impaired), an investigation into a Section 5A charge should be NFA.
  • If you are unsure about compliance with prescriber and manufacturer guidance, then no arrest should be made.
  • If you believe the patient is impaired, you should follow PACE and investigate a Section 4 offence in which a sample of urine will suffice.
  • If you are in doubt as to how to proceed and the patient is cooperative, seek further advice from a supervising officer before proceeding to arrest.
  • Prescribed cannabis medicines must be treated the same way as any other prescribed medication, and this involves administration whilst in custody if required and the safe return of medication following release from custody.
Prescribed Cannabis Medicines - Possession, Use and Driving - Guidance for Police

Possession, Use and Driving

The evidence pack available to download provides all the evidence required to investigate the lawfulness of possession and driving prior to admittance to custody.


  • Written by: Seed Our Future and FCBD Consulting.
  • Reviewed by: BCL Solicitors
  • Support from: CIC Members (Standards Working Group)